The Great American Novel Project

February 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

I started this project back in November. The goal: to read all the novels on Wikipedia’s Great American Novel list. For the sake of simplicity, because the list is constantly changing–apparently the criteria for what makes a Great American Novel is an issue at least as contentious as Roe v. Wade or the Israeli/Palestinian conflict–I’m working from the version that was up when I started the project:

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter
  • Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick
  • Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!
  • John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy
  • John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath
  • J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
  • Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March
  • Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita
  • Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow
  • Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections

Since I’ve already read them, I’m crossing Huck Finn, Gatsby, Catcher, and To Kill a Mockingbird off the list immediately. That left me with nine books to get through before I lose interest in this project (well, technically 11 since the U.S.A. trilogy is three books). At this point, I’ve finished The Scarlet Letter and Moby-Dick, and I’ll be moving on to Absalom! Absalom! as soon as I finish The Master and Margarita.

Yes, I am ashamed of the fact that I was an English major and a lifelong book nerd who’s closing in on 30 and still hasn’t made it to Steinbeck and Nabokov. And yes, I am updating my blog about books on a Saturday night.

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